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What Is a Non-Resident Importer to Canada?

Doing business in Canada might seem like a natural path for expansion, but you’ll have to comply with local regulations. If your company has a product you would like to sell to the Canadian community, you can register as a Non-Resident Importer (NRI) to Canada. This program helps American companies access the Canadian market even without a physical presence in Canada.

This article will explain what the NRI program entails, its benefits and what you need to become a registered NRI company.  

How Does the Non-Resident Import Program Work?

A Non-Resident Importer (NRI) is a company that may not have a physical presence in Canada but still acts as an importer of record for goods and commodities shipped into Canada for sale. An importer of record is any company or person responsible for making sure that imported goods comply with customs and legal requirements. They handle border-related issues for imported goods, such as customs clearance, payment of shipping taxes and duties and other fees.

An NRI to Canada handles transactions like any domestic Canadian company, making its products accessible for people to purchase. Also, this program subjects the NRI to laws and regulations surrounding the importation of goods.

NRIs also have to submit complete and accurate information to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), maintain records and pay taxes and duties as needed. Failure to do any of these may result in the confiscation of goods, penalties and fines and prohibition from importation.

Do I Need an Import License to Import in Canada?

To import goods into Canada, you need to apply for an import/export account from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Applying for an account will help you avoid delays in importing goods at the border. 

After receiving an account you’ll need to understand your import responsibilities like reporting and accounting for your shipments as well as paying taxes and duty. You can start importing with a registered business name, a business number and a GST/HST account number, which is part of the business number.

Do I Need to Register as an Importer?

If your company wants to ship products to Canada, you must register as an importer. The process involves creating an import/export account to process your customs documents. This prevents your goods getting confiscated at the border.

Once you receive your business number, add the business names that’ll be used on customs release documents and forms, like invoices. This name must match that of the customs release document, or your goods might be delayed at the border.

How Do I Register as a Non-Resident Importer in Canada?

To register as a Non-Resident Importer in Canada, apply for a business number from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This is a nine-digit number that identifies companies in Canada, including those that import commercial cargo. The process of obtaining a business number from the CRA and getting an import/export account is quick, free and simple.

Afterward, you need to gather information on the product you want to import. This information should include product composition, descriptive literature and samples, if necessary. You need to have this to get a tariff clarification number for your goods. The number helps to determine the duty rate that will be placed on your products.

Also, note that some products aren’t allowed into Canada, like used vehicles that have not been certified to meet Canadian safety standards. Confirm that you aren’t importing any prohibited items. Similarly, some goods may be subject to inspections and require certification and licenses. Find out whether any of these conditions apply to your products.

5 Benefits of Being a Non-Resident Importer

There are several advantages attached to being a non-resident importer to Canada. A few are below.

Create a Simpler Trade Process

Because the U.S. company is the importer of record, Canadian buyers don’t need to be involved in the import process. This system makes it as easy for residents to do business with American NRI companies as a Canadian company.

Competitive Edge

As a U.S. vendor, you can consolidate shipments and clear goods through customs in your company name, a process that helps reduce shipping costs . Essentially, the program helps American companies thrive like Canadian ones, and gain an edge over other American businesses that have not signed up.

Expand Your Market Reach

Thanks to the NRI program, U.S. companies can now enter the Canadian market and increase market share in the country. Any American NRI company can expand across borders into Canada.

More Shipment Control

An American NRI has more direct control over the shipping process, including clearance processing. Customs delays may be minimized, and companies can deliver products to their customers promptly and efficiently.

Reduced Costs

A non-resident importer to Canada doesn’t need a physical location in Canada for its operations. They don’t have to deal with extra costs associated with hiring employees, infrastructure or warehousing. Reducing costs means higher profit margins and a stronger ability to compete. 

With the clarity of customs clearance fees, transportation costs and other fees, NRIs can incorporate the true cost of goods when selling. This helps with price certainty, and Canadian customers don’t have to worry about sudden additional fees once the products arrive in their country.

Sell in Canada as a Non-Resident Importer

Your company can seamlessly break into the Canadian market — all you need is to register as a Non-Resident Importer. Once you become a part of this program, you’ll be able to sell like any other domestic company in Canada, even if you don’t have a physical Canadian presence.

Even better, you can expand your market reach, have more shipment control and make your goods easy to purchase in Canada.

Make the border disappear – so you can focus on your business, and not customs

A&A finds a better and less expensive way to ship across borders. Saving you money and remove friction.

Make the border disappear – so you can focus on your business, and not customs

A&A finds a better and less expensive way to ship across borders. Saving you money and remove friction.